The Social Contact Centre

to a social networking way of working through the eyes of a Contact Centre manager

Posts Tagged ‘blog

Don’t get Blogged down

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Courtesy Eloqua

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We’ve all read blogs and any search in Google will probably come up with a few blog references on the front page. A huge part of the growth of Web 2.0 is about user-generated content. The barriers are down and anyone can join in. The excellent Eloqua infographic above just shows the breadth and influence of bloggers in the UK – some of these names will be familiar to you.

Blogging is growing in influence and brands and pressure groups centered around blogs are becoming more prevalent. To me as a newbie to social media the barriers to entry on blogging were far higher than other media. What would I write about? Who would read it? It is far easier to be passive with Twitter or Facebook and just observe other people. You can and do just read other people’s blogs but making your own blog an effective tool can make a significant contribution to business success.

I started blogging with a personal blog using Tumblr and really using it as a journal. I thought the look and feel of it was OK but I did realise that most of the business blogs I was looking at either had personalised urls or used other platforms. My daughter was the one who advised me that Tumblr is geared more towards images and short comments and that I should really be on a different platform. Thankfully migration tools are available and I settled on WordPress as it seemed to have good tools on the iPad as well as online. All blogging platforms these days give you a really easy interface but if you have any html skills you can certainly be more creative. What I liked about the WordPress platform was the range of free “looks” and the choice of widgets to bring it to life.

As with all social media you need to get the mission clear from the start. What role does the blog play and how does it link with all your other activity. In my mind I see the blog as the centre of my activity and so my Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn activity will occasionally signpost to it. Each posting on the personal blog creates a tweet and for this blog it creates a LinkedIn update. If I had a website I may use the blog to direct customers and prospects to it. My objective is to generate blog subscribers and reblogs first, comments and likes second and page views third.

So you have a blog created, how do you fill it? There’s no doubt that you need to be able to write. This isn’t an exercise in creative writing but readers expect punchy, interesting and original content I think. There can be a balance of original content, reblogs and links but there must be a healthy amount of original content. This can be generated by guest contributors or the workload can be spread across a range of people in your business if you are lucky enough to have the support. If you have one good writer they can edit the rough submissions of others as a ghost writer if this is easier. In my view as well the blogs posts need to be honest and heartfelt rather than over-polished advertising pieces.

Frequency is a significant challenge as we all lead busy lives and blogging is definitely a slow burner with a big payoff. You won’t get huge readership quickly unless you happen to be a celebrity or have something enormously radical to say. For the rest of us mere mortals stick with it. The pleasure of getting interaction and knowing you are being seen makes it worthwhile. Try to find a routine which results in regularly adding additional original content – weekly if you can – and then use reblogging to draw in other good material from other bloggers. When you have built up a good library of material you can also repost some of the old material – maybe with a bit of spring-cleaning first. Some other tips for getting the writing done :

1. Write when you have a good and fresh idea but don’t always post straight away. Use the options to post the blog later which are in most platforms. That way you get ahead of the game and not feel deadline pressure. Timing is also key to ensure readership. You may get your ideas late at night but your readers don’t necessarily want to read at that time. All your automatic promotion may be triggered at the time you post

2. Try testing ideas in Word first. There should be a good few ideas you discard as not strong enough and if you create in the blogging platform you’ll be tempted to publish when you shouldn’t

3. Blogging is about personality so don’t write about too restricted a topic. This gives you more subjects to go at while also making your blog a more attractive read

4. Ideas don’t always need to be long essays. Think about just posting lists, short ideas or reviews.

5. Use content you generate in other areas – for example use the Twitter feed widgets, press releases etc.

It’s then about growing the readership. Use your other Social Media platforms to signpost to the site but respect your followers by not bombarding them. You also need to think about each blog post and how you can attract people to it. The topic itself is part of it but also use the tags to make it easily searchable. If you’ve had a great idea, and you really think people will enjoy reading it, don’t be shy…advertise. Think about what other bloggers you would want to reblog your content. Read their pages and comment on their content honestly and constructively. When people comment, apart from spam (of which there is a lot), always approve the comments regardless of their support or otherwise and engage in a conversation with them. Make them know you value their contribution. You can also stimulate interaction by running polls or expressly asking for opinion in your content.

Blogging is not for everyone. If you don’t enjoy it and get it, don’t do it. It’s not compulsory but can be enormously rewarding.

Written by greencontact

July 11, 2012 at 9:45 am

A lesson in Blogging…. from an unexpected source

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The social lines between business and personal are blurred – when you share you share. In my view you shouldn’t control followers, readers and friends other than to control the activities of abusers and spammers. As such, I use my personal social activity as a learning point for my business activity and vice versa. I can test things in one environment and compare with what happens in the other.

Blogging was a new thing for me and I waded in wholeheartedly as ever. The research indicates that Blogging is the social activity that can have the most direct influence and is therefore potentially the most powerful in a business environment. In my mind, it is also the hardest to execute. With this view my efforts were almost exclusively focussed on content as I started my first personal blog. It began almost like a journal – extended ideas and opinions and trying to follow the same format as I use for Twitter (1:1:1).

blogging

[Picture source: Barry D via The Book Of Worlds]

What I found was that it doesn’t work in the same way – there isn’t immediately a community to write for or respond to in quite the same way. It takes much more to attract people. The writing is much more demanding because to me, there is a greater need to be interesting. It’s harder to maintain an overall theme and structure – and harder to visualise the goal. For my personal blog, this is fine – I don’t mind if no-one follows me and its both cathartic and fun for me to write. In the business world a blog has a greater significance and can be either brand-building or brand-eroding.

It took my avidly social daughter (who follows my social activity with an amused eye) to read my personal blog and to give me the killer consumer feedback. “Dad, you need to lighten up” she said – “change the format a little and do some shorter, less opinionated pieces. You are also using the hashtags wrongly. If you want to attract an audience you need to use the right ones”. This from a girl whose blogging on fan fiction topics is very popular. “And you’re using the wrong platform – Tumblr is for images and microblogs”. I looked into it and found a useful summary of the platforms: http://www.lifed.com/7-best-blogging-platforms. It figures that not only do you want a platform where the functionality enables what you are trying to achieve but also you want a platform where your potential followers and customers are likely to be (there’s no point banging away at MySpace if everyone is on Facebook).

I’m lucky to have the insight and I’m humble enough to listen, I’ve changed the format of my blog and I’m finding it easier to write and more fun as a result. I’ve transferred everything across to WordPress (some good conversion tools by the way) and I’ve tidied up my tags (the tag clouds are quite a good visual sense check).

Written by greencontact

April 10, 2012 at 4:27 pm